4 Tools to Help You Deliver a Better Customer Experience

customer experience tools

Managing the customer experience can be a daunting task, particularly if you’re a one-man customer experience or marketing team. There is so much that needs to be managed and optimized and, if you’re anything like me, you just don’t have the time.

That’s exactly how I felt before I started leveraging customer experience tools to help me. In the past, our team would be very reactive to customer service. Yes, we offered really fast service and we solved complaints quickly, but it was reactive.

Today I want to challenge you to think differently about customer experience and start utilizing some new tools to help you become more proactive.

Here are the four tools I’ll be looking at today:

  • Social media listening
  • Email marketing automation
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Customer analytics

1. Social media listening

Social media is part and parcel of doing business in today’s world. Most businesses have a solid social presence and leverage social media to communicate their messages and engage with their audiences. But that’s no longer good enough. As consumer behavior continues to change, your customers now want a two-way dialogue.

Customers are using social media to send messages to brands and they want a reply, quick slick. Instead of waiting 10 minutes on a phone, only to be redirected to an overseas call center, savvy consumers are sending tweets on Twitter and posting messages on Facebook directly to brands.

How are you going to manage these conversations?

This is the new reality of customer experience. We need to properly manage all of these different channels and make sure we have systems in place to engage and help our customers.

Let’s look at how Client Heartbeat uses social media listening. Here’s a dialogue of a recent Twitter conversation we had with a customer named Paul Miller:

twitter-customer-experience-tools

In this Twitter dialogue, Paul reached out to us with a question. He didn’t email us; he didn’t call. Instead he tweeted us. Using tools like mention and/or SocialBro, we were instantly notified and were able to respond accordingly. This is a win for Paul. He gets a quick reply via a platform he is comfortable using and knows that we are available via Twitter for future questions and comments.

This is just one example of social media monitoring. You might also use it to find brand mentions via other social media sites, blogs or news sites. The key is to have a tool in place that allows you to proactively track your brand mentions so you can quickly respond. Your response and the experience delivered during these small social media interactions will frame the entire customer experience.

If you are slow to respond and/or not very helpful, that will impact how your customer perceives your entire brand, product or service.

How you can implement this at your company:

  • Start using mention or SocialBro to track brand mentions around the internet.
  • Designate someone who will be responsible for your social media and empower them to respond timely to inquiries made via the channel. Since this might involve a quick tweet at 8pm, make sure you have the right person who can go ‘above and beyond’ to make that happen.
  • Instead of just responding with a brief answer to the customer’s question or concern, follow up and keep the conversation going with another question or comment. These interactions with customers via social media are a great opportunity to build relationships and earn trust. Try to add a personal touch in your dealings with customers, this will help build customer loyalty and show that you care.
  • Sign messages with your initials. This will help with tracking the messages later, but more importantly, it will help personalize the message and make it feel like a person-to-person interaction rather than an impersonal conversation with a nameless company representative.

Related: How to use social media to improve customer satisfaction

2. Email marketing automation

Email marketing automation is a tool that can help ensure you deliver tailored, personalized experiences to your customers. Nowadays, you are collecting more and more data on your customers. You might know their interests and biggest challenges, and you certainly should know whether they are a customer, prospect, subscriber or partner.

But do you know how they are engaging with you via your website or offline? Are you tracking what they are doing so you can tailor more relevant emails?

That is the next frontier for email marketing. Tools like Hubspot, Vero and Customer.io are making email marketing automation affordable to all marketers and small business owners. You can use these tools to track what your customers do on your website, ecommerce store or even inside your app. Based on the actions they take, you can send emails that are more relevant and actually add value for your customer.

We use email marketing automation at Client Heartbeat to give our customers a better experience. For example, we use Infusionsoft to trigger email campaigns based on what a subscriber is interested in. Here’s what one of our campaigns looks like:

customer experience tools screengrab 2

From the diagram, you can see the different email campaigns are all segmented based on different content. But it’s important to note they are all working towards the one goal: the customer satisfaction assessment form. Inside each email campaign, there is a series of emails that is tailored specifically to each topic. As the subscriber engages more with our site and fills outs other forms or completes the customer satisfaction assessment, they will be automatically added to and removed from different email campaigns and sent personalized content accordingly.

The point here is that email marketing can help tailor messages so that your audience only gets emails that they are interested in.

How you can implement this at your company:

  • Start putting in place systems to collect data from your customers, beginning with at least their name, company and one or two interests or needs.
  • Put together email series based on the customer data. You might want to start with a basic email series like we showed with Client Heartbeat, or you can get more complex and start triggering emails based on behavior inside your website or app. For instance, send a welcome email to every new sign up.

3. Customer feedback surveys

We love customer feedback surveys at Client Heartbeat mostly because we are a customer feedback tool, but also because we know they are one of the best ways to improve the customer experience.

Listening to customers is an important strategy to understand what you are doing well and what needs improvement. It is only from feedback that you can learn from your mistakes and improve systems and processes to ensure the experience is better in the future for your customers.

Customer feedback surveys are easy and can be automated into your own systems to ensure you have a constant flow of feedback coming back to your team. Let me explain how we use customer feedback surveys to improve the experience.

Here’s the simple survey that we send our customers once every six months:

Client Heartbeat - survey

Click here to view a sample survey.

It’s really simple and only asks six questions, primarily because those six questions give us the best overall measure of satisfaction and we’ve done lots of testing to ensure we get the best possible response rates. Anything more than six and we see response rates begin to decline.

So we send this survey out two times a year, we get 70% of our customers responding to the survey and we pop all the feedback into a dashboard where we can interpret and analyze it.

Here’s a quick look at the dashboard (sample data):

client heartbeat dashboard

Click here to view the sample dashboard.

From there, we can quickly see who gave us poor ratings and dig deeper into why they did so. We can also identify our potential customer advocates who love us and reach out to them with our advocacy program.

There are other tools you can use to gather a similar level of customer feedback. I also like Qualaroo for on-website surveys, Promoter.io to measure net promoter score and SurveyMonkey for when you want to send one-off surveys.

How you can implement this at your company:

  • Select one of these customer feedback tools to use as a means to gather and analyze feedback. Look for trends in the feedback to identify the areas that are of most concern to your customers.
  • Dig deeper and reach out to these customers to get more details around what’s causing them concern. Compile all the findings into a document and start strategizing what you can do to improve those experiences for them and all your customers.
  • Be consistent about sending customer feedback surveys. Whether it is every six months or every three months, you need to continually gather feedback so you can see if what you have been implementing has had a positive or negative impact on the customer experience.

4. Customer analytics

Customer analytics give you deeper insight into the experience your customers are having on your website, ecommerce store, web app or mobile app. By striving to better understand what your users are doing and why, you can optimize the workflows and improve their overall experience.

Customer analytics tools work by tracking every single thing a customer does. You can setup funnels and you can segment data to chop it up however you please. There are a number of tools that can help with you this: KISSmetrics, Mixpanel and Heap to name a few.

We use Mixpanel at Client Heartbeat and here’s a quick look at some of the data we track to optimize the experience for customers:

customer experience tools screengrab 3

In this diagram, we are looking at the analytics for our onboarding funnel. You can see, from left to right, a customer signs up, goes through three onboarding steps (add account information, select questions, add contacts) and then sends the heartbeat. Once they send the heartbeat, we classify that as an activation.

So the point here is you want to continually use data like this to find ways to optimize the process for customers. For example, we have a big drop from the second onboarding step (add questions) to third onboarding step (add contacts). That’s because adding contacts is a big commitment and our users will need to add a CSV or integrate with a third party CRM (customer relationship management) tool. We are constantly testing new things to try and improve that drop off rate. As we see the number improve, we know that the customer experience is improving because the customer is finding it easier to do what we want them to do (i.e. add contacts).

The trick here is to use the data as a way to measure if what you are doing is improving the customer experience or making it worse.

How you can implement this at your company:

  • Add a customer analytics tool right away to begin taking advantage of the additional insight that you can’t get from free tools like Google Analytics. If I was starting out, I’d go with Heap, mainly because it takes less technical expertize to set up and you can start tracking every event and interaction straight away.
  • Analyze your data to find potential areas where you can improve. Use the insight to think about what you can do to optimize the customer experience on your website/app/store. Run a test and then evaluate whether the data reflects any improvement. Rinse and repeat – the best companies are consistently doing this across all their digital assets, improving the customer experience one percent at a time.

Create a better customer experience by leveraging new technology

Technology is constantly changing the way we do business. Over the last ten years, we have seen a fundamental shift in how businesses deliver customer experience. Your customers have changing habits and they expect more from you now than they did ten years ago. Your customers have become accustomed to other companies delivering amazing service across social media, customer support and even sales and marketing.

Now they expect you to do the same. It’s your job to leverage technology to help create better experiences that not only meet your customer’s new levels of expectations, but go above and beyond to exceed them.

Companies like Zappos, Amazon, Disney and JetBlue are renowned for their positive customer experiences. If you take a closer look at what they are doing, they are all leveraging new digital technologies to enhance the experiences.

These tools are now accessible to marketers and business owners like you. What will you use to deliver a better customer experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Other blog posts and resources I recommend:

 

Tagged: Customer Experience

About Ross Beard

Ross Beard was on the marketing team at Client Heartbeat, the simple customer feedback tool. Learn how Client Heartbeat makes improving customer satisfaction easy.



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